When I was working in corporate America, I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur full-time. And I knew I needed flexibility and capital to make that dream a reality. I avoided long-term obligations and saved as much of my salary as possible. Then all my friends started buying houses, and I began suffering a bit from FOMO. So, I went out and bought a home too. It required me to put down a large sum of capital and locked me into a long-term financial obligation.
I didn’t know anything about raising money from investors, so I funded my company with customer revenue and my savings. My entrepreneurial journey was full of ups and downs, and often I regretted not having the capital I’d put into a home to invest in the company. I enjoyed having a place I could call my own, but I owed the bank a lot of money. And it made sure to remind me of that every month. Seeing that loan balance on my monthly statement definitely affected how I made decisions.
In the end it all worked out, and I was able to grow the company to over eight figures in revenue. Looking back, though, I realize that I didn’t act in alignment with my goal. The decision to buy a home didn’t better position me for entrepreneurship. It did the opposite. I had less capital to put toward my company and a long-term obligation that reduced my risk tolerance.
My goal was different than my friends’ goals. So, my actions should have been different too. I’m very thankful for the journey I had and wouldn’t change a thing. But I did learn from it and begin thinking about my actions and goals differently. I now look at any major action I’m contemplating and ask myself if it will get me closer to or further away from my goal. If it doesn’t move me closer, I don’t proceed.
If you’re a founder considering a material action, ask yourself: Does this align with my goals? That question can prevent you from doing things you’ll regret and give you the confidence to take high-risk actions.